The AtlanticThe Atlantic

The people who use their parents’ first name

By Jacob Stern

08 Jun 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. Children calling their parents by their first name is a rare but persistent phenomenon that can lead to agitation and outrage.

On a 1971 episode of The Brady Bunch, the family’s eldest son, Greg, decides that, as a freshly minted high schooler, he ought to be treated like a man. When he asks for his own bedroom, his parents acquiesce. When he asks for money to buy new clothes, they give it to him. When he asks to skip the family camping trip, they say okay.

But when he sits down at the breakfast table and calls his parents by their first name—“Morning, Carol! Morning, Mike!”—well, that’s a bridge too far. “Now, look, Greg,” his father answers with a wag of his finger. “Calling your parents by their first names might be the fad these days, but around here, we are still ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ to you!”

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